Sheep marts: Lamb trade back across the board

Since buying for the Eid al-Adha festival finished up, prices for finished lambs have taken a dip, which has been reflected in factory prices.

Last week, mart managers reported that prices for factory-fit lambs were back as much as €7-10/head on what they were in mid-to-late July.

However, in some marts, reports suggest that prices are a bit stronger for heavy lambs in comparison to the week before, albeit very marginally.

Over the past week, butcher-type lambs have been trading for between €103/head up to €115/head, with some lots exceeding this price range in places.

Factory-fit lambs, in general, have been making between €95/head and €107/head.

The store lamb trade has also dipped over the last fortnight. Forward-type stores, weighing between 39kg and 42kg, that would have been making up to €107/head a couple of weeks ago, are now trading for €86-95/head.

Lighter stores, depending on quality, weighing between 33kg and 38kg, mainly sold from €74/head up to €87/head.

Lambs weighing between 28kg and 32kg, across the board, sold from €65/head up to €76/head, with some quality lots exceeding this price range. Mountain-type stores made back to as much as €60/head.

Cast ewes remain a good trade, in particular heavy ewes. In general, heavy ewes, over the past week or so, have traded for between €115/head and €130/head, with top prices of over €140/head also being reported.

Forward-type store ewes have been making up to just over €100/head. In general, feeding-type ewes sold from €65/head up to €100/head.

Enniscorthy Mart

Enniscorthy Mart held its weekly sheep sale on Wednesday last, August 5. According to the assistant mart manager, Kevin Murphy, there was a large entry of sheep on the day, with prices for heavy lambs improved by €5-10/head in places.

Kevin believes that the fact bigger numbers of lambs were moved earlier in the season and at lighter weights, that it has made factory lambs scarce for the time of year.

On the day, butcher lamb prices ranged from €108/head for lambs weighing 50kg up to €126/head for lambs weighing 55kg.

Furthermore, Kevin noted that factory-type lambs weren’t as plentiful and prices for these lots ranged anywhere from €96/head for lambs weighing 43kg up to €107/head for lambs weighing 47kg.

Sample butcher and factory-fit lamb prices:

  • Three lambs weighing 55kg sold for €126/head;
  • Eight lambs weighing 50kg sold for €122/head;
  • 10 lambs weighing 54kg sold for €119/head;
  • Three lambs weighing 47kg sold for €111/head;
  • 10 lambs weighing 46kg sold for €107/head;
  • Seven lambs weighing 47kg sold for €105/head;
  • Nine lambs weighing 46kg sold for €105/head;
  • Five lambs weighing 46kg sold for €106/head;
  • 11 lambs weighing 44kg sold for €100/head.

According to Kevin, store lambs continue to “sell very well with plenty of farmers buying for surplus grass”. Forward stores made from €85/head for lambs weighing 38kg up to €93/head for lambs weighing 41kg.

Lighter stores were a stronger trade than last week, he noted. Prices for these lots ranged from €71/head for lambs weighing 28kg up to €94/head for lambs weighing 36kg.

Sample store lamb prices:

  • Six lambs weighing 40kg sold for €89/head;
  • 14 lambs weighing 39kg sold for €86/head;
  • 17 lambs weighing 39kg sold for €89/head;
  • 35 lambs weighing 26kg sold for €80/head;
  • 15 lambs weighing 35kg sold for €83/head;
  • 17 lambs weighing 29kg sold for €78/head;
  • 19 lambs weighing 37kg sold for €84/head.

Kevin noted that cast ewes remain a “great trade” particularly for heavy ewes, which he says are “scarce”.

Heavy ewes sold from €115/head up to a top price of €144/head, while lighter store ewes made from €77/head up to €102/head for more forward-types.

Dowra Mart

Dowra Mart held its weekly sheep sale on Friday last, August 7. There was a slightly smaller sale on the day, which saw 2,250 sheep go under the hammer.

According to the mart manager, Terry McGovern, prices for factory-type lambs held firm, while stores were a better trade in comparison to the previous week.

Factory lamb prices ranged from €95/head up to a top price of €115/head for lambs weighing 48kg.

Store lamb prices ranged from €64/head for mountain-type lambs up to €95/head for more forward-type stores.

Sample factory and store lamb prices: 

  • Four lambs weighing 48kg sold for €115/head;
  • Four lambs weighing 46kg sold for €112/head;
  • Six lambs weighing 43kg sold for €111/head;
  • 10 lambs weighing 41kg sold for €107.50/head;
  • 20 lambs weighing 42.5kg sold for €106/head;
  • 15 lambs weighing 33kg sold for €90/head;
  • 35 lambs weighing 36.50kg sold for €80.50/head;
  • 23 lambs weighing 39kg sold for €81.50/head.